After three years of preparation and planning, Lyle and Ginger Wensley along with their daughter, Cana, arrived at SENDAS on August 16. The Wensley’s vision to begin a soccer ministry – Life of a Champion Ministries – has become a partnership with SENDAS toward the goal of reaching the neighborhoods closest to the seminary.
Lyle Wensley is a middle school teacher and soccer coach who has felt God’s call to begin this ministry in Costa Rica. While not a Nazarene couple, they have a connection to the Church of the Nazarene through their extended family that led them to us. We are glad to be a part of God’s inter-denominational work of the Church in Costa Rica.
Life of a Champion Ministries will emphasize teaching the fundamentals of soccer while providing mentorship in the area of life values. The focus of this ministry will be children who live near SENDAS in areas where parental leadership is strained or absent. Although Life of a Champion is a ministry completely independent from SENDAS, the seminary will contribute to the ministry by providing its facilities for a nominal cost. SENDAS has always opened its doors to the community and being the location of this new ministry will allow SENDAS to extend its influence for the Kingdom.
Coach Wensley said, “It was a clear calling from the Lord to look into Costa Rica to start a youth soccer academy. God knew that SENDAS was a part of that plan. During the first meeting we had with Dr. Ruben Fernandez, it was clear that God had brought our two organizations together. Our vision is to use soccer to reach at-risk children by providing an environment and opportunity to experience the life-giving love of Jesus.”
The ministry will be carried out in conjunction with the Los Angeles Church of the Nazarene, from where the majority of children will come, is located only five minutes from the seminary. The pastor of the Nazarene Church Los Angeles, Andres Fernandez, shared the following, “As pastor of the Church of the Nazarene Los Angeles I am very enthusiastic about this project that we are sure is born in the heart of God. Our local church is located very near some neighborhoods where boys, girls, and young people live in much need. Their need is more than money. Their true need is the absence of values in their lives and families. This ministry can be of great impact toward transforming those lives through sports with values. As a church we will be supporting this excellent project interacting with the participants and opening our facilities to follow up with their holistic formation. In the future we want our facilities to be converted into a second training center. A group of student leaders from the church are already preparing to invest their time and resources to impact the lives that soccer can attract. We are sure that God will do great things!”
The sports facilities of SENDAS (the soccer field and the gymnasium) need improvements to carry out this ministry. The ministry is an approved special for the Global Church of the Nazarene and you can find more information about the improvements project at the website: https://www.nazarene.org/global-missions-project?project=2835 or you can donate directly to the project at: https://give.nazarene.org/donate/f/132005
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